The Artistic High: Selfish Salvation
Escape. It’s worth any given amount of time, money, and sacrifice. A haven; a distraction from the ordinary; an oasis of idylls. But from what exactly? A high instructs for a quick perceptual blur; an interrelated pleasure of detachment, obeyed by a climatic crash, which adds further weight to a reality somehow less livable. The trip is understood; it creates room for addiction; an insatiable thirst for an ironically cleansed state, reminiscent of an oblivious feeling associated with childhood innocence. Yet no matter the depth of any high, what one seeks to escape most is --“illogically”-- eerily present in the vicinity. Along with this acknowledgment comes the climatic crash; the end of leisure; the closing act in a play, character role left in the costume room; the fading of a blasting song. Our sought escape is logically –and even illogically (imagination does not detach from this reality)—impossible. This is because what every person seeks to escape is an unbearable environment; an unbearable self.
Throughout history, generations have introduced various forms of escapism: drugs, yoga, exercise, meditation, induced sleep, even tea. But an escape whose consistent efficiency prevails throughout time resorts back to an almost instinctive skill, requiring the minimum provisions: pencil and paper. Through this blissful childhood skill, the body is engulfed in a soothing lake of endorphins, which neither ignores nor fully acknowledges pain, but molds it into a malleable attitude reflected in the beauty of art.
Throughout what may perhaps have been the most historically-active decade, the 1960s stirred significant social transformation in the United States and abroad. Among infinite social and political issues, Chryssa is able to pinpoint an ambiguity in the words of both the American society at large and the Kennedy administration’s false promises in relation to the New Frontier, conveyed in her modern sculpture, Americanoom. Furthermore, through an innovative title and the use of repetition, her work suggests an idea shared with Martha Boto’s Optical Interferences: det: motorized: an implication that differing perspectives do not necessarily convey unique ideas; in the end, every person seeks the same escape: selfish salvation. Both works can be analyzed from a micro and macro-level perspective, to imply specific social commentaries in regards to their corresponding countries and general society.
It is nearly impossible not to be visually seduced by Americanoom’s bold statement. Its rough edges and harsh substance certainly seem to belong amidst its inevitably intriguing time period of assertion. The piece, unlike many social and sartorial trends of its time, has managed to survive the exhilarating changes throughout the decades, and continues to hold true to its initial message: a social criticism disguised behind blinking neon lights and large aluminum cut outs.
Americanoom is a sizeable...